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Album review: For Fear The Hearts Of Men Are Failing

Artist: For Fear The Hearts of Men Are Failing
Album: City Music

City Music, the new release from the homegrown alt-country/folk group For Fear the Hearts of Men Are Failing (FFHMRF) is an enjoyable traditional country and bluegrass-inspired romp. FFHMRF bill themselves as the "longest-named East Bay folk group," and while the name does seem to drag on forever, the record never does. It sounds like it could have been recorded on a summertime front porch in Appalachia. Twangy vocals are punctuated with rolling banjo and guitar interludes. The tracks "Whippoorwill," the mostly instrumental "The Dialog/Elzic's Farewell," and "The Death Song" stand out from the rest. If you like Punk rock jugbands like Blackbird Raum or traditional folk songs and bluegrass (a la Folkways and Alan Lomax depression-era recordings) you're sure to like FFHMRF.

Check out their set at Mama Buzz, March 19th, 8pm.

-Natalia Cooper

   

Noise Pop 2010: A B & the Sea

In San Francisco, merely uttering words that suggest you perhps don't care for A B & the Sea is akin to cheating on the perfect boyfriend in high school who brought you stuffed animals as presents and called just to say he loved you [ok, I didn't have one of those boyfriends either but you get get the metaphor, yes?]. Why, why would you do that? Koley O'Brien might just be that boyfriend, or at least that's what A B & the Sea's lyrics would have you thinking. With songs like "Yellow Haired Girl" and "We Can Ride Our Bikes to the Beach," A B & The Sea brought some sweet and innocent surf rock back to California via Wisconsin last Sunday night [does that sound strange to anyone else or just to me?]. A B & the Sea are what my co-editor Ada likes to call "nice guy rock." Where their lyrics lack in depth, their music makes up for in catchy-ness and musicianship. Their Noise Pop show at Bimbo's was tight and energetic and the crowd was certainly in love. A B & the Sea made mama proud that night.

-Nicole Leigh
words and photo

   

Noise Pop 2010: The Northern Key

The Northern Key is the side project of Andrew Galluccio, bass player for the San Francisco band The Red Verse. Andrew's haunting indie folk compositions started off an eclectic evening of music at Bimbo's for one of Noise Pop's final eveings of shows. Joined by the multi-instrumentalist Christina Platter on cello and keys as well as Danny Sullivan on drums, the trio helped wind down the weeks back to back days of happy hours and dancing. With somber lyrics and an overall sound that is very reminiscent of Iron & Wine with a slightly less solitary feel, The Northern Key's set at Noise Pop was quite enjoyable.

The Northern Key released their self titled LP on Tricycle Records earlier in February.

-Nicole Leigh
words and photo

   

Noise Pop 2010: Citay

Possibly the only band at Noise Pop to feature both a glockenspiel and a Gibson Flying V, the seven piece band known as Citay headlined the Thursday evening festivities at Cafe du Nord. Not surprisingly, the band with the eclectic instrumentation has an eclectic sound and it all came out of the mind of Ezra Feinberg in 2006. Since that time the band has put out a few albums, the most recent of which, Dream Get Together, was released earlier this year. Their Cafe du Nord performance was in celebration of the album which features pop melodies, multi-layered harmonies, and spacey guitar solos. Its pretty interesting stuff.

Careful With That Hat

-Nicole Leigh
words and photo

   

Noise Pop 2010: Greg Ashley

Sandwiched between San Diego's Tape Deck Mountain and Portland's [via England] grunge minimalist, Scout Niblett, was an intimate solo set from Greg Ashley. During the Thursday night performance, murmuring could be heard amung the audience about the identity of the person they were watching - "who is this?" "what's this guys name?" It could have been the wine or possibly the years of experience playing with bands like Oakland's Gris Gris and The Mirrors that made him seem so at ease on stage in this extremely personal set but Greg was relaxed and each song came out with that low-fi, mellow, vintage, slightly psychedelic sound that is somewhat if a trademark for Greg. The majority of the set consisted primarily of instrumental songs played on just an electric guitar with Greg sipping from one of the two glasses of wine he brought on stage.

Greg hasn't put out a solo album since 2007's Painted Garden, these days he's spending time producing artists such as Brian Glaze, Powell St. John and Dutchess and The Duke but this Cafe du Nord set is perhaps a hint of some of the projects to come from Ashley in 2010.

-Nicole Leigh
words and photo